Salon: Triumph of the free-software will [Andrew Leonard follows up on 'Who Cracked Microsoft?']
Oct 31, 2000, 12:26 (10 Talkback[s])
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"After five years of writing online and three years of covering
the free-software movement, I've grown accustomed to my share of
flames. I've even come to relish the fact that if I so much as look
cross-eyed at Linux I'll get reamed as a "Bill Gates propagandist."
It's OK; as a reporter, I figure I'm doing something wrong if
everybody is happy with every word I write."
"But I'm not used to the kind of e-mail I received after I wrote
a short speculative piece wondering whether any subset of the
extraordinarily diverse group of people who fall under the term
"free-software hackers" could have been involved in cracking
Microsoft's internal network. I can shrug off the expletives or
accusations that I am a Microsoft floozy, but it's a little less
easy to be blasé in the face of the "shame on yous" and "you
should know betters" that filled up my in box over the weekend.
It's as if my mother was pursing her lips, shaking her head and
wondering how a boy she raised could ever turn out so wayward.
Those who knew my coverage of free software best were most dismayed
-- I had betrayed them."
"Accusations of betrayal cut pretty deep. And yet, even as I
wince every time I check my mail, I am paradoxically heartened by
the anger. I originally became obsessed with covering the
free-software movement because I was fascinated by the passion that
motivated so many free-software developers or advocates. The
severity of their response to my article proved to me, once again,
that I was playing with a fascinating holy fire."